Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Guest Writer
Hybrid car being charged

Hybrid cars are thought to be the vehicle of the future, with increasing emphasis being put on cutting carbon footprints and protecting the planet. Not long ago Hybrid cars were the preserve of the particularly eco-conscious, but they have now made their way into the mainstream. Most major motoring brands offer Hybrids with models like the Toyota Prius, the Honda CR-Z and the Lexus CT proving popular. They work by combining a fuel engine with electric batteries, which reclaims energy when the car brakes or converts energy from the petrol in the fuel engine. However, more manufacturers are developing ‘plug in’ Hybrids, which offer the option to recharge more powerful batteries through a common household electricity socket.

Hybrids are environmentally friendly

One main reason drivers opt for a Hybrid over a standard car is that they want to cut the impact their motoring has on the environment. These motors are more eco-friendly as they encompass two engines – a traditional gasoline engine and an electric motor and batteries – which work together to cut fuel consumption. This makes them the car of choice for motorists who are environmentally conscious and know that opting for a gas guzzler will have a negative impact on the environment.

They also have a lower running cost

In tough economic times when the cost of car insurance and petrol is rocketing, people will do anything to keep the cost of their car maintenance down. Investing in a Hybrid is one way to do this. Thanks to the two-engine system Hybrid drivers will use around half of the petrol or diesel, making for fewer pricey trips to the gas station.

You get road tax breaks

In an effort to encourage people to be eco-friendly in their motoring practices, the government is encouraging people to drive a Hybrid by giving them road tax breaks. Depending on the carbon emissions of their particular car, drivers will either pay less road tax or none at all.
Hybrids are expensive to buy in the first place

While you might save on running costs, Hybrid cars tend to cost more than their equivalent gas guzzling counterparts. However, the difference tends to stand at around £1,000 to £2,000, meaning that it is very possible to make your money back in the long run.

Some people are concerned about the batteries

Hybrids utilise batteries and some people are worried about the toxicity of these. However, today’s models use NiMH batteries rather than the environmentally difficult nickel cadmium ones. Furthermore, these battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle.

New parts and servicing can be inconvenient and expensive

Due to the innovative technology utilised in Hybrid cars, mechanics at traditional garages do not have the expertise to fix them should something go wrong. This means that Hybrid owners need to take their motor back to the dealer for servicing. In no way should they attempt to fix the problem themselves as there is a risk of electrocution. What’s more, because Hybrid’s are newer and rarer getting hold of new parts can be an expensive process, which can make maintenance on the car more expensive than with an older motor.